Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
I am scanning up my father's and my railroad slides before the physical images go to a museum. As I was working on the enclosed image of a WP maintenance of way boxcar, I made an interesting discovery. The car is riding on what once were Chrysler trucks. The outboard snubbing mechanism is gone, but the brackets are still attached to the truck frame.
Some background: This car was from WP series 20801-20820, the first 20 cars in the larger series 20801-21400. These were PS-1 boxcars delivered in 1951. The first 20 cars were equipped by Pullman with Compartmentizer adjustable bulkheads and Chrysler trucks for high-value fragile merchandise loads (probably for Montgomery Wards in Oakland). The bodies, ends and roofs were silver-colored, and a huge orange feather ran the length of the car, crossing the door, plus the "Rides Like a Feather" slogan was in the upper right corner. In 1952 the class was renumbered as 19501-19520. Also in 1952, 22 additional cars were drawn at random from the main series and returned to Pullman for adding Compartmentizers. These cars originally came with black car cement on the ends and roofs, to which the silver paint wouldn't stick. They came back to the WP with same black ends and roofs, and also retained their ASF A-3 "Ride Control" trucks. This later group was renumbered 19521-19542. Around 1958 the silver paint was beginning to fail, and the whole class was repainted boxcar red, with a diagonal orange feather covering most of the panel to the right of the doors, and the "Rides Like a Feather" slogan below the feather at the lower right. Except for WP 3401-3410, similar 8'-door cars with DF-2 loaders, these were the only WP 40' cars to carry this scheme. These two classes of boxcars were among the last 40' boxcars on the WP, as the company bought 50' cars heavily beginning in 1954.
Fast forward to about 1980. Most of WP's remaining 40' boxcars were stretched, sold or scrapped by the 1970s, and the few remaining went into maintenance service. I came upon this car in Keddie, California on one of my last WP photo trips up the Feather River Canyon before I was posted to the East Coast by the Coast Guard. I couldn't resist a photo, but only now almost 40 years later did I notice the odd trucks while I was photoshopping out some processing debris.
Garth Groff 🏴